Twins stop Cardinals

  By Wes Holtsclaw
  star staff
  wholtsclaw@starhq.com
  JOHNSON CITY -- While one team was able to make its hits pay off, the other simply could not.
  In the first of a big three-game series at Cardinal Park, the Elizabethton Twins consistently scored and kept the host Johnson City Cardinals standed on base with key defense to take an 8-4 victory.
  The win keeps 'Betsy a half of a game back from the Greeneville Astros in the Western Division standings.
  Elizabethton had three players drive across two runs including the "Hitman" Deacon Burns, who finally got back into his groove with a game high four hits including two doubles.
  A two-run jack from David Winfree in the seventh inning provided insurance along with two ribbies off the bat of Javier Lopez.
  Former Middle Tennessee State ace John Williams picked up his first professional win after five innings, allowing one run on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
  The Elizabethton staff accounted for 13 total strikeouts. Dennis Medina, Jeff Mousser and Frank Mata wound out the final four innings of the game.
  "Williams came out and gave us five solid innings," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "That's the role he assumed during his college career. He was more aggressive tonight."
  "Deacon got his timing back," he added of Burns. "He was in a hard luck spell for a while. Tonight, he was aggressive as usual and he played with his hit changed."
  Defensively, the Twins held 13 Cards on base.
  Elizabethton got on the board initially in the first inning when Burns drove across Trevor Plouffe on a double. A third-inning triple from Jeremy Pickrel set up Lopez with his RBI single.
  The Twins got their biggest boost from a three-run fifth inning.
  Trevor Plouffe opened with a single and scored off a Burns liner. Pickrel advanced the bases on an error to set up a sacrificed fly from Lopez and a bloop RBI hit off the bat of catcher Tim Lahey.
  The Redbirds grabbed their first run in the fifth with a single and RBI triple, respectively, from Juan Lucena and Samuel Herbert.
  They wouldn't reach the scoreboard again until the eighth, and by that time it was too late.
  Elizabethton provided two more in the seventh, when David Winfree put his sixth homer of the season over the green monster in left, scoring Lopez in the process.
  'Betsy made it an 8-1 game in the top of the eighth when Landon Burt walked and came across on a sacrificed fly from Jeremy Pickrel.
  Johnson City was playing to make it respectable in the final two stanzas. The unit grabbed two runs in the eighth with a solo home run from Chad Gabriel, followed by a double from Yonathan Sivira.
  Sivira wound up scoring on a Lucena single.
  The team picked up another run in its final offensive frame when Tony Granadillo walked, only to reach on an dropped popper in the infield from Siviira.
  Lucena and Sivira led Johnson City with three hits apiece, while Herbert added two. Burns and Lopez were the only Twins with multi-hit games.
  "It's about time. I was kind of slumping there," said Burns, whose batting average is up to .339 on the year. "It's a good thing that the coaches were working with me.
  "I started pressing myself too much (to keep the average up)," he said. "In the last three games, I've gotten back on track."
  The Puerto Rican outfielder, Lopez, has been consistent as of late including his two hits last night. He believes the next two games will bring the best out of both teams.
  "Both teams were fighting hard for it and that will continue," Lopez said. "Whoever gets the series will want to stay up (at the top of the standings). The next two games will be tough for both squads."
  'Betsy newcomer Kyle Waldrop will get his first start in the 'Betsy uniform tonight, facing Johnson City's Matthew Scherer (2-2, 4.08 ERA).